Synergy Of Technology And Services Organizations: The Healthcare Flywheel Effect

December 12, 2023
Article written by Dr. Corey Scurlock, MD, MBA

synergy of technology and services organizations

The Healthcare Flywheel Effect,The Healthcare Flywheel Model

View on Forbes.com here

Dr. Corey Scurlock MD, MBA is the CEO & founder of Equum Medical.

Within the healthcare landscape we live in today, strategic alliances have become an essential means of inter-organizational cooperation. The collaboration between these technology companies and healthcare clinical workforce services providers are benefitting from the "flywheel effect." These alliances come in various forms, such as service alliances, opportunistic alliances and stakeholder alliances and they offer opportunities to pool resources, gain competitive advantages and strengthen relationships with various stakeholders, including suppliers, customers and employees. The key to their success lies in recognizing their unique characteristics and managing them effectively.

The Flywheel Effect: What Is It?

In business, we search for ways to participate in a continuous cycle of growth that’s self sustaining. In fact, not just grow, but grow with increasing velocity. Jim Collins in "Good to Great" builds on this by identifying the behaviors of successful companies that continue to beat the market and competitors. Outside of the traditional companies and models reviewed, in healthcare the flywheel effect emerges when technology companies collaborate with healthcare clinical workforce services providers, creating a mutually beneficial relationship. This is mainly because the value for healthcare is not just more technology, but a balance between people and technology, and the processes and workflows to optimize the utility of the new solutions.

How does it work? Technology companies offer innovative solutions that enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery. These solutions, ranging from telehealth platforms to AI-driven diagnostics, streamline processes, reduce costs and improve patient outcomes. Simultaneously, healthcare clinical workforce services providers ensure that these technologies are integrated seamlessly into clinical workflows. They supply the essential human touch that complements digital advancements—from skilled medical professionals to administrative staff. Together, these partners catalyze a cycle of improvement: as technology enhances clinical services, the healthcare workforce becomes more efficient and skilled, resulting in even better patient outcomes.

The Power Of Partnership

Harvard professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter noted managing relationships within strategic alliances is a nuanced endeavor: organizations entering these alliances, whether they are hospitals, physicians or firms bring their distinct goals and expectations to the table. The challenge lies in reconciling these disparate views and molding them into shared, well-understood and agreed-upon purposes, which is why realistic and reasonable expectations, both in terms of content and time frame, are crucial for the alliance's success. Additionally, the scope and domain of alliance activities must be clearly defined and embraced by all members. In healthcare, stakeholder alliances have been used to strengthen relationships with suppliers and customers. For instance, healthcare organizations may form partnerships with suppliers to ensure a steady supply of high-quality materials and equipment.

Commitment As The Underlying Philosophy

Members of these alliances must view their participation as an exchange relationship where benefits are earned through contributions. Contribution entails a willingness to share resources, recognizing that this means relinquishing some degree of control and autonomy. It's vital to understand that alliance purposes can evolve over time, necessitating a reevaluation of membership, operational domains and programmatic areas. To ensure the effectiveness of these interorganizational partnerships, a common framework and process for joint decision-making is essential.

Participating In The Ecosystem

Business ecosystems offer the key benefits of partnership and through their modular design, the promise of faster innovation. BCG researchers have noted that the structural roadblocks of our healthcare system can detract from the interest in companies creating alliances, the primary of such is that being the health care sector is resistant to change. To combat this, don’t pursue the first instinct in the alliance which would be to add scope, but instead, focus on adding scale: a key challenge is the ability to affect change, therefore scale is needed. Focus the alliance and participation on achieving critical mass through focus vs increasing the core value proposition prior to this.

Implementing The Healthcare Flywheel Model: Key Recommendations

To harness the power of the flywheel effect for technology and services organizations:

1. Synergistic Partnerships: Choose technology companies and healthcare clinical workforce services providers offering complementary solutions that create a seamless, integrated solution.

2. Streamline Communication: Establish regular meetings and clear lines of communication to organize effective collaboration that includes goals setting, escalations and team deliverables.

3. Clinical Workflow Integration: Ensure that technology and clinical workforce solutions integrate for the customer instead of disrupting clinical workflows. Education that maps to each level of the organization from leadership to bedside care teams is critical for buy in.

4. Data-Driven Decision-Making: Leverage data to assess patient outcomes, cost savings and other relevant metrics to make data-driven improvements and share the small wins along the way.

5. Continuous Improvement: Embrace a culture of continuous improvement. A roadmap that aligns the firms goals for growth, marketing and account-based engagement will ensure that the true value of the flywheel can be realized.

Alliances are “the organizations of the future.” By forging strong partnerships between technology companies and healthcare clinical workforce services providers, the industry can achieve remarkable efficiencies, cost savings and improved patient outcomes. To unlock its full potential, organizations must commit to collaboration, streamlined communication and a relentless pursuit of innovation. With the flywheel in motion, healthcare can accelerate toward a brighter future, where technology and human expertise converge for the betterment of patient care.

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